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The Rime - the journey so far...
R&D Phase 2, summer 2022

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Sound Artist, Matthew Tuckey was awarded an Arts Council England project grant to work with a small creative team to develop a new sound installation, The Rime, in response to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. As part of this R&D process, he produced recordings of an original score by composer Katie Doherty, performed by participants from the Northumberland Orchestral Society and the Amble Harbour Light’s Community Choir.
This R&D project was made possible by public funding from Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants and funding from Northumberland County Council and November Club.
We've created this Digital Scrapbook of community contributions and the developing artistic ideas to offer an insight to the creative process.

Why 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'?

As a teenager, Matthew was fortunate to spend many summers aboard sail-training brigs leading to a period of volunteering as a watch leader with a sail training charity, taking other young people to sea. Coleridge's poem is evocative of the memories of being at sea, and resonates with a relentless draw towards adventure.

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It's a lottery with the weather at sea, particularly in sail training. 

The views, whether near or far from shore, are always dramatic - even when wrestling with a lack of wind or an abundance of rain!

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Have a listen...

Our first stage of R&D in 2021 consisted of inviting the community to respond to some early recordings, including a field recording made on Amble's South Pier and have our Poet, Rue Collinge, reading extracts of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Amble at Dawn by Matthew Tuckey

Seabirds fly past and dive for fish. Fishing boats leave the harbour and head out to sea. A spring tide steadily going out provides a constantly progressing bed of sound.

Composed from a long format recording made on Amble's South Pier, looking north over the water.

released May 29, 2021
Field recording, composition, and mastering by Matthew Tuckey.

all rights reserved

Streaming is limited to three plays per person. The track is available to purchase from Bandcamp by clicking on the track name.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner


00:00 / 00:54

Extract 1

The ship was cheer'd, the harbour clear'd,
Merrily did we drop

Below the kirk, below the hill,

Below the lighthouse top.


The Sun came up upon the left,

Out of the sea came he!

And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.


'And now the Storm-blast came,
and he was tyrannous and strong:

He struck with his o'ertaking wings,
And chased us south along.


And now there came both mist and snow, 

And it grew wondrous cold:

And ice, mast-high, came floating by,

As green as emerald.


The ice was here, the ice was there,

The ice was all around:

It crack'd and growl'd, and roar'd and howl'd, 

Like noises in a swound!

00:00 / 00:56

Extract 2

All in a hot and copper sky,

The bloody Sun, at noon,

Right up above the mast did stand,

No bigger than the Moon.


Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, nor breath nor motion;

As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean.


Water, water, everywhere,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, everywhere,

Nor any drop to drink.


And every tongue, through utter drought,

Was wither'd at the root;

We could not speak, no more than if

We had been choked with soot.


Alone, alone, all, all alone,

Alone on a wide, wide sea!

And never a saint took pity on

My soul in agony.

00:00 / 00:46

Extract 3

The moving Moon went up the sky,

And nowhere did abide;

Softly she was going up,

And a star or two beside—


Her beams bemock'd the sultry main,

Like April hoar-frost spread;

But where the ship's huge shadow lay,

The charméd water burnt alway

A still and awful red.


Beyond the shadow of the ship,

I watch'd the water-snakes:

They moved in tracks of shining white,

And when they rear'd, the elfish light

Fell off in hoary flakes.


Within the shadow of the ship

I watch'd their rich attire:

Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,

They coil'd and swam; and every track

Was a flash of golden fire.

00:00 / 00:33

Extract 4

Till noon we quietly sail'd on,

Yet never a breeze did breathe:

Slowly and smoothly went the ship,

Moved onward from beneath.


The Sun, right up above the mast,

Had fix'd her to the ocean:

But in a minute she 'gan stir,

With a short uneasy motion—

Backwards and forwards half her length

With a short uneasy motion.


Then like a pawing horse let go,

She made a sudden bound:

It flung the blood into my head,

And I fell down in a swound.

00:00 / 00:39

Extract 5

Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,

Yet she sail'd softly too:

Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze—

On me alone it blew.


O dream of joy! is this indeed

The lighthouse top I see?

Is this the hill? is this the kirk?

Is this mine own countree?


The rock shone bright, the kirk no less

That stands above the rock:

The moonlight steep'd in silentness

The steady weathercock.


The harbour-bay was clear as glass,

So smoothly it was strewn!

And on the bay the moonlight lay,

And the shadow of the Moon.

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